Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[help|tech] Linksys and Cisco router-bridge weirdness

ETA: A working 802.11g bridge has been made available. This post is now academic, and is being left live for the networking prØn value. Thank you.

I had two knowledgable and generous friends over yesterday helping me reconfigure my network to upgraded bandwidth from Comcast and an upgraded Cisco E4200 router to support the higher speeds.

We got into the issue of reconfiguring the old Linksys 802.11g router (WRT54-G) to be a bridge with the E4200 in order to support some printers that lack their own wireless cards and cannot be connected to the E4200 via wired Ethernet. (All of this has to do with the physical layout of my house and the location of two of the three printers here.) This was previously supported by a bridge between a very old Linksys B-Bridge (WET11) and the WRT54-G. Much consulting of Web sites and fooling around with the admin interface. Bad success ensued.

Failing that, we tried to bridge said very old WET11 directly with the E4200. Among other things, the WET11 admin interface appears to be in a fragile state, and we simply could not make that happen. Further bad success ensued.

We eventually arrived at a somewhat inexplicable yet working kludge of resetting both of the old pieces of equipment to factory defaults, whereupon we could bridge the WET11 to the WRT54-G without actually doing anything to the admin interface of the WET11. We then connected the WRT54-G to the E4200 via Ethernet.

This is not a crisis, but the current network kludge is a clumsy, failure-prone and insecure networking arrangement. For about $60 I can buy a new WET610N, the current 802.11n functional equivalent to my seriously ancient WET11, but if possible I'd really prefer to use the otherwise perfectly functional WRT54-G as a bridge rather than spend even more money.

I would be very grateful to anybody in PDX who is a router-whisperer and understands Linksys/Cisco configurations well enough to untangle this problem for me. (Or on the other hand can confirm that what I'm trying to do cannot be done and I should just pony up the damned $60 and be done with it.) Advice is also helpful, as my knowledgable and generous friends can play hands to good directions if available. A site visit would be far more helpful given my chemobrain and their schedule. Happy to pop for beer and pizza, or gift a few books in return, if so.

Please advise.

Tags: help, portland, tech

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